China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area on Tuesday launched its first China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan (CKU) international multimodal cargo train, enhancing connectivity between Central Asia and the southeastern region of China, China Media Group (CMG) reported.
This new train route adopted the containerized "railway-road" multimodal transport mode. After arriving in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region via railway, the cargo will then be transferred to road transport and exit through the Irkeshtam port, passing through Kyrgyzstan, and ultimately reaching Uzbekistan, CMG said, citing information from local customs.
Compared to traditional routes, this new line saves approximately five days in transit time, providing a more efficient and expedited logistics channel for trade between the Greater Bay Area and Central Asian countries, according to the report.
Previously, trade transportation between China and Central Asian countries largely relied on China-Europe freight train route via the Horgos Port. With the rapid increase in trade volume, the port congestion has worsened, necessitating the establishment of a new transportation corridor to accelerate cargo flow.
The new route will not only strengthen economic and trade exchanges between the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Greater Bay Area, but also pave the way for the future operation of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project which is expected to start construction within the year.
In June 2022, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov said in an interview with Kabar Agency that "We will start the construction of the railway in 2023 after the feasibility study is completed. The feasibility study is being prepared with the participation of three parties. There will be jobs. Our economy will boom."
The new route forms a spatial layout of "multi-directional extension and land-sea interconnection," supporting the deep participation of the Greater Bay Area in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative's international economic corridors and promoting its level of opening-up to the world, CMG reported.
The route is not the first CKU international multimodal transport train launched from China. Earlier on June 9, a CKU transport new channel test train departed from Xinjiang and headed toward Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.